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Mez’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 12 Dec 2007

Location: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

After my very, very last overnight bus trip (yaaaaayyyyyyy!!!!) I arrived in beautiful, sunny Rio! Have spent a lot of time on the beach, mainly Copacabana and Ipanema. All of the locals here have spectacular bodies, have not seen so many beautiful people on a beach before. Boys, get over here pronto. The women are AMAZING! Am not game enough to take pics of the locals on the beach to post them for you, so just take my word for it! Really, really hot women with hot bods. Plenty of eye-candy for you ladies out there too :-)
Went on a favela your which is pretty much a tour of one of the slum areas. The one we went to had about 200,000 people living there, no town planning or anything. People just pretty much gather whatever they can find and build homes wherever they like. It´s totally crammed with people. Also, the drug lords are there and crime is terribly high. Walking through the streets I saw one woman holding onto a syringe while she was arguing with someone else, and even a dude casually strolling around with an AK-47! A little different from the poor areas I´ve seen so far! I know what you´re all thinking, ´why the hell would you even go there?´ but apparently it´s really safe for tourists in a group because the drug dealers don´t want police there so everyone pretty much leaves you alone. It actually felt safer there than walking along Copacabana beach on my own at night! I wouldn´t go to the favela on my own though.
The area I´m staying in is called Copacabana. It´s pretty cool here, loads of shopping and the beach is right around the corner from the hotel. The only problem here is you can´t leave your hotel with any valuables AT ALL. Nothing. Muggings are really high here, especially if you´re on your own and at night. But that´s cool because you don´t really need to take much with you to go to the beach.
We went on a tour to Christ the Redeemer at Corcovado which was built in 1931 to guard the city and also as a tourist attraction. Can see most of the bays from up there, including Copacabana and Ipanema. Was pretty spectacular but I´m not too sure about it being one of the modern 7 wonders of the world. Just a huge statue, worth a look but not sure how happy the Incas that built Macchu Pichu would feel about it being rated on the same scale :-)
Also went to Sugarloaf Mountain. Took a cable car ride up the two mountains for some awesome views of the whole of Rio. Really nice, although because we were so high, there was lots of cloud cover in my pics. Problem was solved though, I bought some postcards for my scrapbook :-) hehe
The group tour finished 2 days after we got to Rio, and then I still had 7 more days here. A whole week to work on my tan and shop until I drop! Was sad to say goodbye to the group, have spent over 2 months with some of these guys and have made some really good friends. Will see a few back home, some of them live in Melbourne, Sydney & Adelaide.
Went on a snorkelling tour on Ilha Grande, about 3 hours south of Rio. Was really good, although it was overcast the day I went. They took us to some really pretty places. We firstly stopped off on this tiny little island for some swimming and then off to Blue Lagoon, which was gorgeous. About 20 metres deep and you could see right to the bottom! Tropical fish swimming around, and they would come and feed right off your hand. We dropped watermelon into the water and watched them all come to the surface. Was so cool.
Gotta say, you MUST come to Rio. This is one place I´m definitely coming back to sooner rather than later and I´m dragging my boy with me too. Nicko would love it here, such a party atmosphere, beach, surf and great restaurants, cafes and bars. Great shopping too with loads of little designer stores, although the prices are pretty much what you would pay back home. Has been soooo awesome, wish I didn´t have to leave :-)
The other thing worth a mention is the traffic here is chaos! Its almost as though cars are trying to run people down! And catching a cab is like a roller-coaster ride or some kind of thrill seeking ride at a theme park. I´m almost expecting to see cars overtake on two wheels :-)
Just heard that a couple of days after we left Bolivia there were huge rallies and protests and all of the roads out of the country were blocked off. Travellers have been stranded at the borders for over a week. Our timing was perfect, we just missed it all. It happens all the time in Bolivia, a lot of civil unrest. Its all over the papers here.
Next is Chile :-)